Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Appetites

There was no food
Today. I did not
Eat. My empty stomach
Growls. I decide to sleep.
And welcome the blackness
That will silence my hunger.

A Simple Goodbye

His hand already feels cold, but his heart hasn’t stopped beating just yet. He’s always been stubborn. The old fuck never did know when to let go. Some of that lives in me. He knows it too. Maybe that’s why he asked to see me even though it’s been six years since our last fight—since the last time our eyes met.

Now, here I am holding his dying hand. I’ve always been a pushover for melodrama. That must have come from my mother. She always did love soap operas. Regardless of the reason, I’m here as requested. However, I’m silent. I swore I’d never speak another word to him so long as he was alive. The sight of death won’t change that; I won’t break my word. He knows that too. This reticent, brazen face gives him joy. He sees himself in my stubbornness. It’s his immortality and revenge.

A thin smile blossoms on his wrinkled gray face. He knows my future. I’m looking into its coldness. Such a bitter fondness he has for me and I for him. Our hearts are bound by contempt and pity. Most children would seize this moment to express their gratitude for having been given life and say their final, “I love you,” but not me. Deep down, I despise this world. I don’t care if it’s beautiful at times. I feel the same contempt and maladjusted affection for it that I do for him. And that he knows as well.

He can see it firm and unyielding in my eyes. His smile grows into a smirk. He’s injected his hate into the world and in that won a victory. An unfamiliar darkness pools in his eyes. His pupils expand—drowning in the same light that his pickled brain will mistake for heaven. It’s here. His crusted eyelids fall. The black of his eye is hushed. I release his hand. “What a bastard,” I whisper to his corpse. My stubbornness had also defeated death, but also sealed my fate. I saw it, there, in the dark puddles of his eyes—my silent iron reflection staring back at me from the depths of nothingness. “At least,” I thought, “he was finally open with me.” I left his bedroom.

My mother, sipping a cup of coffee, looks up at me from her chair in the dining room. “He’s dead,” I said.

She nods. “Well, happy birthday,” she says. Her eyes turn back down to the silk and plastic flower centerpiece. That would be the last I ever saw of her. I walked outside to my car. It was a clear blue day with a crisp breeze. The sun tickled my face.

Duty

Frank casts his eyes down the long, winding street. There were hundreds of workers, like ants, busily constructing house after house. However, right now they weren’t houses at all—only shells. The air could still sweep through the open structures. This is how they all are in the beginning, but soon they would be caked with layers, with insulation, with plasterboard, with paint, with rooftops and shingles and decorative siding, and with storm windows and then screen doors. Impenetrable is what they become—except when, by some whimsy, the owner decides they want some fresh air, or maybe some sunlight. A feeling of childhood overcomes Frank, which sends a tear to embrace his eye. He stares, with wonder, at the pure and simple work of carpenters. Mollified, he looks forward to the day’s work.

Fate

I’ve walked across a
Desert of heat and
Ghosts. Decades rolled
Into nothingness alongside
Of night. At last I came upon
A door. Your smile welcomed
My knock, but the door
Remained shut. I have no
Choice, but to sit firm and
Wait. The time of walking has
Passed. Until your door
Opens, I’ll linger in this
Desert, burning with
Patience.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Routine

I know you’re unhappy. Responsibility has overtaken you and joy has been replaced by routine. I feel the same emptiness you do. A taunting cold wind swirls inside of me and mocks whatever I thought I have built. Each day unfolds like permanent pressed slacks from the cleaner folded exactly the same stiff at every seam and pleat.

The alarm whistles and shatters our peaceful sleep; our backs pop and crackle fighting against our efforts to sit up; the mouth is coated in muck and foul smell; a sharp pain pulses in our sides because we have to urinate so badly; we blindly stumble to the bathroom to relieve ourselves; then we dress, maybe eat breakfast, watch the news, drive through traffic to get to work, punch in, and steal a cigarette and some coffee; plop our tired fat asses in a chair and shovel through a Michigan snow drift of paperwork; meanwhile our phone is ringing off the hook with people wanting to ask stupid questions.

Some new kid at work is driving us crazy with his enthusiastic rigor; you try to send an email but your inbox is cluttered with electronic chain letters, bad jokes, and porn links; lunch break is a treat but it’s raining so you can’t enjoy that walk through the park, that is that line of trees the department of beautification planted in the strip mall where you go for another coffee and a deli sandwich; the hour passes quicker than sex since you’ve gotten old and prematurely reach orgasms; work ends with another whistle; that drive in rush hour traffic seems like a day on the cross so it’s off to the pub; two hours of ESPN golf and hockey highlights and five or six vodka Collins, or on a rough night scotch and soda.

Finally make it home and she wants to know why you didn’t call and why you’re late and why the store-bought chicken alfredo is sitting cold and rubbery on her country-living dining table; your kids who were so amazing and beautiful wrapped like Christmas presents in alabaster sheets –everyone and everything so sterile and sanitized…that smell…that feeling like everything mattered as your emotions boiled inside of you whirling around like Eliot’s little fingers in finger paint, well they’re just loud and dirty now and you don’t understand why they can’t show Daddy how much they care by being quiet.

Then the evening news and a snifter of brandy and your last two smokes as you watch the daily dose of fires, shootings, and carjacks; you stumble into bed and nestle your once steel toned abdomen next to your wife’s hefty, sloping ass that used to be so hot in those summer dresses she wore in college. This is it; every day until you die, minus those 2 weeks a year in Florida playing golf and taking the tikes to Disney World.

Imprisonment.

And all we have is our dreams.

Committed

Love compels me to Love you with so much love.
Love inspires duty. Love begs forgiveness. Love
ignores this pain. Love is deaf to your lies. Love
searches for the tiniest good. Love accepts the
greatest bad. Love holds me when you refuse.
Love smiles at excuses. Love is endless. Love
is troubling. Love comes before me. Love puts
you before me. Love questions me. Love is
insecure. Love apologizes for me in the name
of Love, though i have done no wrong and Love
knows so, but Love is Love and Love is so arrogant
and selfish that Love always gets its way. Love makes
me ignore the uneasiness in my stomach when
you cancel our plans out of nowhere, with that
weird tremble in your voice. Love remembers
your ex-Love is back in your life as just a friend.
Love won’t let me see the brutal truth. Love
still lets me feel brutalized by this ruse. Love
you throw in my face when you attack my suspicion
with guilt, because real Love isn’t a skeptic. real
Love doesn’t doubt the security of our Love. real
Love has faith. real Love trusts your Love even
though i first Loved you my beLoved when you
were still entrusted to your now ex-Lover. and
Love is what makes me say ok to anything Love
wants. Love makes me say hun’ when i want to
scream cun…(biTch). it’s Love that turns that
i hate you into i Love you, i’ll always Love you, and
Love conquers all, except –Love.

Requiem

Decorate my grave with dead roses when I’m gone
Bless my funeral with the saddest of songs
And if you find my eternal flame
Then blow out the spark
I guess I am insane,
But I prefer the dark.

The Coffee is Free

Marshy wet Wednesday March morning
At the hostel in Cedar Crest
Up in the New Mexico Mountains
On my spring break sabbatical 2000.

The ground is soft because the February snow
Melted two days ago when the
Renegade sun attacked the clouded landscape.

I laced my Adidas up and
Boiled the tap water in the
Tarnished pot and poured a cup
Of Folgers coffee and snatched up
My Newports before heading out to
The porch to gaze at the thick pine trees.

Terry is at work and that Patrick
Guy is off somewhere doing his Zen
Meditation and eating Herve’s Wheat tortillas with
Globs of Honey Bear honey.

I tried to strum the Gibson acoustic
But Fred the donkey shuffled his
Furry hide my way and started eating
The soggy cigarette butts out of the old coffee
Can –I cringed in disgust and the
Jackass licked my bare right arm and
Left a trail of crud, tobacco sediment, and saliva and gave me an
Affectionate donkey smile.

I threw on my wool coat and
Trounced down East 16th street to
Lunar coffeehouse where that guy Jack
I met, who owns it, plays free concerts
On Sunday evenings in the dusty corner
Illuminated by bars of moonlight.

The cellist is off at the community
Symphony and Sarah,
Is working the counter. She makes my
Cappuccino and croissant stuffed with
Prosciutto ham and sharp cheddar chunks.

I fingered through the news rack and
Grabbed Psychology Today and checked out
The new Feng Shui corporate solutions
For low productivity and yoga mantra
Relief for painful childhood memories.

The thick old purple armchair swallowed me
And time reminded me why I had come,
My eyes snuck out the
Window into the noontime horizon so
Vast like soft blue ivy climbing out forever on
A wall of the universe.

The sunbeams had particles of dust dancing a falling waltz –a man
In a gray suit came in for an espresso and
Sarah gave me a cup of leftover
Colombian coffee, “It’s free she said.”
Smiled and traipsed away.